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Sunday 17.11.2019 | Name days: Uga, Hugo, Uģis

Leading judge in Lembergs’ criminal case leaves due to health problems

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Judge Boriss Geimans

Because of health problems, court chairman and leading judge in the criminal case against Aivars Lembergs Boriss Geimans will no longer take part in court sessions involving this case. Instead he will be replaced by reserve judge Ārija Ždanova. Judge Irīna Jansone has been elected as the new chairperson, as announced at the court session on Monday, 9 September.

Lembergs’ lawyer Aivo Leimanis submitted an application, announcing his client’s decision to withdraw the agreement with him on provision of defence.

The court had previously picked Genādijs Ivankins as Lembergs’ state-provided lawyer.

He had initially requested seven months to go through materials of the case. However, so far the court has only decided to reduce the frequency of court sessions dealing with Lembergs’ criminal case. This means

meeting twice a week instead of four times a week as before.

The court also asked lawyers of the accused Ansis Sormulis and Anrijs Lembergs if they are prepared to commence their debates, but lawyers said not, explaining that they had expected Aivars Lembergs’ lawyer’s speech to last until the end of the year, stressing that that his speech is not over. Nevertheless, the court decided that either lawyer Jānis Rozenbergs or lawyer Oskars Rode will have to commence their speech on Thursday, 12 September.

The court added – if the defence is not prepared to provide their speech, the court will conclude they have nothing to say.

After the court session Rozenbergs could not say if his speech is ready. He only said «we will come up with something by Thursday».

Lembergs was in need of a new lawyer because on 25 June his team of lawyers lost one of its members – Raimonds Krastiņš. He has since ceased practising law altogether. Lembergs has two other lawyers in his team, but he said they cannot take on duties of a third, because each of them is responsible for different aspects of the case, and Krastiņš was the «only strategist of the team». Other lawyers were invited to attend specific sessions. At last week’s court session, Lembergs was without his lawyers.

The court had previously told Lembergs that he has the rights to take on as many lawyers as he wants, but he does not have the rights to sign contracts with lawyers who will arrive only to the court sessions Lembergs allows them.

«Either you have defence that arrives for scheduled court sessions or the state will provide you with defence. Let’s not rip apart court sessions if you have an agreement with someone who cannot make it,» Jansone described the situation.

Prosecutor Juris Juriss had previously told BNN that, based on his experience, Lembergs’ side has been intentionally delaying the entire court process. «Court delaying currently takes place on the pretext of looking for defence, yet our side observed «seeds» for this scenario some time ago. In the view of state prosecution, one of the defence lawyers went against the meaning of the law, when she began issuing a separate order for every court hearing,» Juriss comments on the situation with Lembergs’ lawyer Irina Kauke.

She has taken part both in the pretrial criminal proceedings and in the trial from its beginning. However, over the past few months, according to Juriss, lawyer Kauke carried out a fictional scenario – deliberately applied for orders, which are, as if, about separate speeches of fragments of debates. Thus, Lembergs was able to justify that Kauke was not his defence lawer to the full extent.

«Our projection came true after lawyer Raimonds Krastiņš declared his resignation due to an illness. It turns out that Lembergs has lost his defence, because Kauke somehow isn’t his full lawyer due to many orders staged to Lembergs. Here, the side of state prosecution sees maliciousness. «The ground» for this was prepared deliberately with the aim of delaying the criminal proceedings on the pretext of searching for defence.»

In court debates the prosecution requested sentencing Lembergs to eight years of prison with confiscation of property, as well as fine of 150 minimal wages or EUR 64 500. The prosecution commenced debates in February 2018 and concluded them in March 2019.

The prosecutor’s office accuses Lembergs of bribery in especially large volumes, money laundering, forgery of official status, participation in monetary deals he is not allowed to take part in due to his official status, as well as abuse of official power and other crimes. Anrijs Lembergs and Ansis Sormulis are also among the accused in this criminal case.

The prosecutor’s office has requested sentencing Anrijs Lembergs to a prison sentence of five years and six months with confiscation of property, whereas the requested sentence for Sormulis is seven years in prison with confiscation of property, as explained by prosecutor Juris Juriss.

All three of the accused deny their guilt.

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